The narcissist wants attention from you. If they can not get positive attention from you, or if they are not getting their own way, they will go after negative attention from you. There are seven stages that most people go through during a relationship with a narcissist, while the narcissist achieves your attention.
Stage 1, Idealisation.
Everything is perfect in the beginning. They are loving, kind, considerate, make you laugh, and generous with time and money. You have everything in common with them. It’s an incredibly intense relationship. It’s powerful and effective, and you fill them with positive attention. They are just mirroring you, future faking to feed you an illusion with their admiration face.
“Nobody falls in love faster than a narcissist who needs somewhere to live.”
Stage 2, Devaluation.
They believe your positive attention is not as good as it was in the beginning, and of course, to a narcissist, it’s all your fault, so they take action against you to get other attention, negative attention. By mistreating you, provoking you, shouting at you, silent treatments, and gaslighting, they want you to shout in anger, and cry from frustration. They want to confuse you, so you doubt reality and doubt yourself, so you feel as though you’re going crazy and blame yourself for their toxic behaviour.
“A narcissist will provoke you, to get a reaction out of you so that they can blame it all on you.”
Stage 3, Intermittent reinforcement.
They don’t want to keep the devaluation up for too long as they don’t want you to abandon them. Especially if they have not managed to find someone new to move in with, they don’t want you to work out what’s really happening or leave them, so they start the intermittent play nice of the idealisation stage of the relationship again. Because you’re so full of relief and joy, that the person you fell in love with is back, your positive attention is now overflowing with them, and your doubts are gone. The person you met is back. Your mindset believes that relationships have their ups and downs. Because of the narcissist manipulation, you think the rough patch was down to you, so you work harder at the relationship, trying to please them more and more. While slowly losing yourself. It’s them convincing you that the person you met is still there. The rough patch was down to you. They will alternate between stages two and three for as long as they can. To confuse you and keep you hooked on them. Because they do that and you’re all over the place, your negative and positive emotions are heightened towards them, all the stress can cause Brain damage. Stages two and three could last from a couple of years to thirty-plus years or more. You get everything amazing then everything miserable to keep you confused.
Stage 4, The preventive.
The point of no return, is when you’ve realised something isn’t right, started googling their behaviour, or sought professional help, found someone understands what’s happening to you, you may have had enough and want out, you just know you need out. You may want to warn the narcissist you’re thinking of leaving, so they’ll go overboard on the idealisation stage, they may want you to pity them, so out will come their guilt trips, and they will promise to change. You are delighted they want to change and do all you can to help. This is all an act by the narcissist, of course, because they can not have you leave them. Oh no, they need to leave you. So they’ll be looking like they’re trying to make it work with you, yet they are behind your back, working against you. Because they are trying and you are trauma bonded, you try also giving them more positive attention. While they are in the background, try to find a replacement for you. Which when they start cheating, it will leave you all confused as to how they are acting again.
“An Apology without changed behaviour is just further manipulation.”
Stage 5. Discard.
They up and leave. You were working it all out together, so now you’ve no idea what’s going on. You see, they have someone New. You might know what they are now and try to warn the new person. The narcissist loves this as they have already told the new person all about you. Or should I say all about themselves, but of course, a narcissist is never accountable, so it’s all you. So to the new person, you do actually look crazy as they’ve already told them you’ll do anything to get them back.
Stage 6. The hoover.
When the new one isn’t working out, they try to approach you. Seeking forgiveness, saying how they were not thinking clearly, and they need your help. All done to convince you to try again. If they ended it, they believe you want them back. If you ended it, they think you’ll be pleased that they want you to help them.
Stage 7 They return again.
This is because the last time you left them for good and they know you’ve gone for good, they know all the no contact, they’re hoping that you’re Trauma bonded, as you refuse. They will threaten you, Smear your name, everything they can to provoke a reaction from you. No matter how many years have passed.
“A narcissist is a con artist, and they sell you a dream to deliver you a living nightmare.”
Always look at past patterns of behaviour, and listen to their actions and not their words.
You deserve better, you are special, and you are worthy.
If you’re out, no matter what they throw your way or send their flying monkeys at you, No contact always—limited grey rock if co-parenting. Work on yourself, give yourself a positive mindset, baby steps to get to where you want your future to be, stay strong and keep going. You’ve got this.
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Elizabeth Shaw is not a Doctor or a therapist. She is a mother of five, a blogger, a survivor of narcissistic abuse, and a life coach, She always recommends you get the support you feel comfortable and happy with. Finding the right support for you. Elizabeth has partnered with Betterhelp (Sponsored.) where you will be matched with a licensed councillor, who specialises in recovery from this kind of abuse.
The cycle of a narcissists manipulation.